National Alumni Association outlines goals during 38th annual convention

Kesha Williams
July 25, 2008

National Alumni Association officials say increasing the organization's membership is a primary goal in the next year. Their 38th annual national convention in Elizabeth City drew over 100 participants. Dr. Charles Cherry, president of the NAA, was enthused by the scope of events the Elizabeth City chapter planned for this year's conference. Organizers held workshops that highlight young alumni involvement, fundraising, alumni membership, student recruitment, and ECSU athletics. In an effort to garner more participation from recent graduates, the convention program included a panel discussion on topics of interest to young alumni. Dr. Cherry applauded the host chapter for diligently working to meet the interests of so many alumni. "The host committee did an excellent job of revisiting the NAA constitution, involving young alumni and making sure we had a diverse body," Dr. Cherry said. "We are trying to increase NAA membership so we are planning more strategies to reach graduates who are not participating in the association or attending the conferences. We received positive feedback from the participants who attended and that is encouraging." Dr. Jeanette Evans served as chairperson and Mrs. Yvonne Walton served as co-chairperson. The 12-member committee began working early in the year to prepare a list of speakers who would inform the audience of the latest developments at ECSU. The convention was dedicated to its founder, Elaine Welch Perry, class of '54. The keynote speaker for the Blue and White Recognition Breakfast, Keith Richardson, class of 2003, wowed the audience with a motivational speech on what it means to be a Viking. During this inaugural recognition breakfast, several alumni received awards for their generous contributions and unselfish service to both the association and the university. Among those alums honored were Gwendolyn Bowser, Ella Ivory, Elston Howell, and Demetra Tyner. ECSU Chancellor Willie J. Gilchrist's schedule did not allow him to attend the conference but his video-recorded State of the University address applauded alumni for their ongoing support for ECSU. As a prelude to the president's message, the convention attendees participated in a spirited discussion on recommended changes to the NAA Constitution. NAA President Charles D. Cherry concluded the convention with a powerful message on his vision for the association. He charged the alumni to be open and honest with their ideas and suggestions and to be dedicated to helping the university and the association grow and prosper. "Our priorities will continue to support the mission, vision, goals, and priorities of the university. We will approach our work with a "can-do" spirit, realizing, of course, that can't is a word of defeat; can is a word of power." "We will try several strategies to increase the membership so we can convert Viking Pride to Viking power. Through membership, participation and donations we will have more Viking power. I recognize what the university has done for me and I hope others do too. Membership is growing, however it's not where we'd like to see it. " Elizabeth City alumni committee members were: 1. Dr. Jeanette H. Evans, Chairperson 2. Mrs. Yvonne S. Walton, Co-Chair 3. Dr. Charles D. Cherry, National Alumni President 4. Mrs. Deborah J. Cowell, Local Alumni President 5. Mr. Jerome Brothers, Registration 6. Mr. Arkeem Fleming, Young Alums Panel Coordinator 7. Dr. Demetra Tyner, Food Service Coordinator 8. Mrs. Sandra Gibson, Food Service Coordinator 9. Mrs. Ethel Meekins, Support Personnel 10. Mrs. Shirley Jones, Support Personnel 11. Mrs. Barbara Sutton, Director of Alumni Relations 12. Mr. Cliff Vanterpool, Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Next year's convention will be hosted by a southern area chapter. More information is forthcoming. Through the NAA membership . . . Alumni maintain positive contacts made during the undergraduate/graduate years. Alumni learn firsthand about the developments of the university. Alumni preserve the legacy of the institution. Alumni invest in the future of the university through scholarship donations, and recruitment fairs. Alumni influence the number of people earning bachelor's and master's degrees.